The essence of the Abhayagiri Vihara monastery
Visit the Abhayagiri Monastery, a vast sprawling ruin that is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Beautifully carved moonstones from the 7th to 8th century are on display, as well as spectacular bathing ponds and intricately carved balustrades. It was here in the 19th century that the British started to discover Anuradhapura’s antiquities and uncover the country’s remarkable heritage. Explore Lankarama Dagoba stupa (hemispherical structure containing relics), Eth-Pokuna, the largest man-made pond in Sri Lanka and Pancavasa or the Five Residences, the monks’ dwellings with a lotus pedestal in the middle, suggesting a Buddha statue was once housed there. The largest building on the property is the Jewel Palace, Ratnaprasada, crumbling ruins protected by two guard stones that are adorned with flowers, dwarves and a pot of plenty.